Impossible Projects…for more than 49 years, WHALE has saved historic buildings

  • March 7, 2011

Pictured: Andrew Robeson House , circa 1821– (L) Andrew Robeson House being moved down William Street after being saved from demolition by WHALE to its new lot. (R) Andrew Robeson House fully restored on its new lot at 32 William Street, New Bedford.

For more than 49 years, WHALE has saved historic buildings in New Bedford when no one else could, changing the way New Bedford looks forever. By saving significant pieces of our history and architectural heritage, WHALE has ensured that New Bedford remains a special place with irreplaceable connections to our past that serve as unique places for people to live, work, play, and learn.  Without WHALE’s preservation efforts, New Bedford, especially the historic core of New Bedford, would look vastly different today.

WHALE is not an ordinary 501 c3 organization. As an award-winning and nationally recognized historic preservation organization, WHALE takes on “impossible” preservation projects that no one else can. And, WHALE has never failed. WHALE, time and time again, puts the entire organization on the line to step in and rescue an endangered historically significant building that no one else can. And, why can’t anyone else? It’s simple. The sheer cost of rehabilitating these blighted and neglected historic properties far outweigh the return on investment – making them “impossible” preservation projects for the private sector to handle. Only a nonprofit like WHALE, committed at all costs to saving these buildings, can secure grants, private donations, and other subsidies that make these astronomical projects a reality. WHALE is in the business of making dreams comes true and WHALE develops strong partnerships with the City of New Bedford and area organizations to achieve its preservation goals. With the strong support of our members and friends in the greater New Bedford community, WHALE is proud to boast a 100% success rate on its projects.

All of WHALE’s 46 preservation projects were slated for demolition or inappropriate development, ravaged by fire, and/or suffered from years of neglect and deterioration. WHALE’s projects are never for the faint at heart nor are they inexpensive. But, they are all worthy of preservation and rehabilitation and today continue to positively contribute to New Bedford by contributing to their neighborhood and the valuations of nearby properties,  returning to the tax rolls when privately owned, and serving as cultural icons in our community such as the Zeiterion Theatre and the Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum. In WHALE’s preservation projects, people are working, living, and learning in interesting places that tie us to our past, build our community’s character, and keep us a special place.

For more information on our past projects click here.

Andrew Robeson House

This 550-ton brick and stone mansion was rescued by WHALE to prevent its demolition and moved down city streets to its present site. It was stuck in the middle of William Street for one month because the blizzard of 1978 dropped three feet of snow on New Bedford.  Designed in the Federal style, the residence is an outstanding example of New Bedford’s prosperity during the golden age of whaling. Today it is privately owned, back on the tax rolls, and provides an interesting place to call home for a number of local businesses.